Obama Visits Puerto Rico

Posted on June 15, 2011



Barack Obama is going to visit Puerto Rico due to its potential importance during the 2012 presidential campaign.

The population of 4.6 million people on this island territory represents a large portion of Hispanics, which is an increasingly important segment of voters.

This official visit is the first by an American president in 50 years; the last visit to Puerto Rico was by John F. Kennedy. By visiting Puerto Rico, Obama is trying to reach a large portion of Puerto Ricans in the United States, which reside mainly in New York and Florida.

While in Puerto Rico, Obama will visit the Republican governor Luis Furtuno. Obama will also be attending a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.

Obama’s visit reignites the ongoing debate over whether or not Puerto Rico should acquire statehood, retain its status as an island territory, or achieve full independence. Although Obama does not have any particular preference on Puerto Rico’s status, he does support a referendum that would allow the citizens to decide. Governor Furtuno says that this will be a question for the island voters to decide before his term ends in 2012.

Furtuno has mentioned that the Puerto Rican citizens’ main concern was of the economy. The recession hit the island territory hardest when unemployment rose to nearly 17%.

Furtuno says he welcomes the attention the island is getting due to the increased importance of the Hispanic vote. He said that both Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton visited the island during the 2008 presidential primary and expects Republican candidates to do the same next year.

(Image Courtesy of AP)

Posted in: National